A number of specialist video tripods will feature a spreader, either at ground or mid-level, whose role is to adjust the angle of the legs, for better stability at high or low extensions, while preventing the legs from spreading all the way out. The ground level spreader provides great stability but runs the risk of getting dirty when used on location, and you might need to remove it and work instead with leg spikes. The mid-level spreader, meanwhile, offers the advantage that you’re able to use it on uneven surfaces, but if you do encounter a situation where it needs to be removed and reattached it can be quite a fiddly operation.
The third option is the no spreader approach, where the angle adjustment is achieved through limiting the spread with angle locks at the top of the leg. This kind of arrangement is becoming increasingly popular, although it doesn’t work quite so well with the heavier cinema camas. For those using hybrid models, however, there shouldn’t be any issues at all.
Choose Your Head
It’s not just in the sticks department that a video tripod will differ from one that’s designed for stills, however. You should also be looking at investing in a specialist head to complete the outfit and to make sure you have something to work off that will enable you to comfortably produce video footage that’s full of silky-smooth movement.